How To Clean A Boat Deck (Step-by-Step Guide)

Owning a boat comes with the dire need to maintain it appropriately. It’s essential to set a regular cleaning routine for your boat’s deck to achieve longevity and better performance. If you’re the one expecting your boat to be visually appealing, start with cleaning the deck and get it free from grease, debris, stains, and grime. 

Cleaning a boat deck begins with vacuuming the area to get rid of loose debris, spraying the boat deck cleaner on the surface, soaking it in the solution for some time, and then removing stains/grime with a strong bristle brush. This process gives an extra shine to the boat deck and takes only a few minutes. 

In this article, let’s look at the step-by-step guide to cleaning a boat deck and also interesting methods to eliminate stains from the deck (on various floors). 

How To Clean A Boat Deck: Step By Step

Cleaning a boat deck is essential to give it a fresh and spotless look. However, you need a proper understanding of the process. Otherwise, your boat deck can either get greasy or lose its shine. 

If you’re a novice in cleaning your boat deck, we have a guide presented here that can walk you through this process. Perhaps, you can also fix errors or potential queries on the go as you follow the steps in this guide. 

1: Vacuum The Location

As the boat sails in different climatic conditions and has passengers using the deck, it’s vulnerable to loose dirt/debris that settles on the top. As the first step, you should walk through your boat deck to find out areas that need topical wash/vacuum. 

Tip: Avoid vacuuming areas containing water or other liquid solutions. This can make the surface messy. 

As you mark dirty spots, vacuum them immediately. The advantage of using a vacuum is to reach inaccessible spots without difficulty. 

2: Spray Water On The Deck 

The next step is to get your deck ready to be cleaned. For this reason, spray water over the surface and allow it to soak for a few minutes. Even if it’s a tight sludge deposited on the deck, it loosens a bit. 

Remember to pour just the right quantity of water. If you pour water excessively, it can be hard to clean it properly. You may also lose your grip while cleaning it! 

3: Mix Solution And Water

To accomplish this step, you need a reliable boat deck cleaner. In general, you can buy a cleaner from your regular vendor for boat accessories. However, you need a non-skid cleaner solution, or the purpose will remain unresolved. 

To a bucket of lukewarm water, add a few drops of the solution. Mix them thoroughly. 

If you’re looking for a reliable cleaner, here’s one to begin with – Better Deck Boat Cleaner

Are you wondering what other accessories are needed? Here’s a list:

  1. Boat scuff eraser
  2. Boat deck brush
  3. Boat Wash UV Protectant
  4. Deck brush and handle

Remember not to start the work without having these materials ready. 

4: Spray The Solution On The Deck

As soon as you’ve mixed the solution with warm water, it’s time to begin the cleaning process. 

To simplify the process, it’s better to transfer the mixture to a spray bottle so that it’s easy to carry and spray across the deck. 

As you’ve already identified areas that need cleaning, you can spray them several times to allow the solution to work harder. In other areas (like corners), spraying once is sufficient. 

Note: You shouldn’t spray excessively. Likewise, don’t go with a deck cleaner that doesn’t guarantee an anti-skid feature. 

5: Scrub The Deck

After you’ve sprayed the solution on the deck, allow it to soak for 5-20 minutes, depending on the level of grease or dirt. Take your brush and start scrubbing those areas. While those areas with limited dirt are easy to clean, hard dirt needs more time. 

Allow such areas to soak for more time. You need a stern brush (that’s ideal for a boat deck) to clean the region. 

6: Wash The Deck 

Are you done with scrubbing the deck? It’s time to wash it to admire the new and spotless look. Wash the deck with a bucket of water and rinse all areas where the solution has been applied. 

It takes less than 10 minutes(depending on the boat size) to wash the deck thoroughly and get rid of the solution. If you’d like a quick solution to dry the deck, you can always use a cloth to wipe the surface. Otherwise, it’s good to leave it that way and let it dry under the sunlight. 

Now that we’ve looked at the steps to clean the boat deck, you may wonder about the appropriate procedure to clean all floors. Is it the same method? Are there differences?

Cleaning the deck on each floor follows the same procedure if it’s the same material. However, if you’re planning to clean the entire boat, you may need different applications/cleaners to vacuum, clean, and rinse those areas. 

If you have a map of your boat, create a cleaning routine for each area and then start with the process. I prefer to work from the inside to the outside. If you start with the outside and then go inside to clean you’re going to mess up the deck finish for sure.

If you want to clean the rest of your boat be sure to check out my other article here- all about cleaning a boat.

Boat Deck Cleaning: Dos & Donts

If you’re skeptical about cleaning the boat deck on your own, you can go with a professional cleaner who can get the job done in a much shorter timeframe. Of course, it can cost extra, but it is you when you have a bit of doubt. 

It’s a wise idea to stock cleaners and supporting accessories in the storage area of your boat. This lets you clean whenever needed. 

Always clean the boat’s deck once every 4-6 months, depending on the dirt level. This routine helps ensure better aesthetics for your boat and eliminates hard, unusual surface stains. 

Don’t choose cleaners containing gasoline, bleach, or harmful chemicals. Always read the label before you use it. 

MAKE SURE IT’S ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY! We don’t want to poison our lakes and oceans anymore.

How To Clean A Teak Deck

Cleaning a teak deck isn’t the same as other procedures because of a change in the base material. 

I recommend this kit for all of your Teak wood cleaning!

To clean a teak boat deck, follow the steps below:

  1. Start with fresh water spray (or saltwater) on the deck. 
  2. With a gentle bristle brush, scrub the deck thoroughly. 
  3. If you’d prefer to use a chemical to clean the teak deck, you can go ahead with a teak boat cleaner. However, you can also clean it without chemicals. 
  4. Spray water whenever there’s too much dirt and scrub it with the brush for more time. 
  5. Once the scrubbing process is over, you can rinse the deck with a bucket of fresh water.
  6. Once it dries, I highly recommend oiling it. This will help preserve this fantastic wood.

That’s it! Your teak deck starts to shine more than ever before! 

Cleaning the entire teak deck can take about a couple of hours (depending on the size, speed of work, and degree of dirt). However, it isn’t a complex process. 

Note: Some teak decks can be too sensitive. Hence, don’t rely more on chemical cleaners unless there’s a real need and you’re confident of their effect. 

How To Remove Stains From A Boat Deck 

Removing soft stains from the boat deck is feasible with soap and water. However, hard and sticky stains need a commercial boat cleaner to speed up the job and get rid of the stains effortlessly. 

Here are a few precautions to keep in mind when you look for a stain remover for your boat deck:

  • Don’t go with a random boat cleaner. It can harm the surface. Always find the deck’s material and then choose a corresponding cleaner. 
  • Don’t forget to dilute the cleaner in water. Direct application can damage the deck. 
  • It’s a good idea to go with a long handle or extendable boat scrubber to clean the surface. Otherwise, your arms and back can hurt after some time cleaning the place. 
  • Always read the instructions mentioned on the label. 

With these precautions in place, you can get rid of tough stains and slimes on the surface like a pro. 


What Is The Best Thing To Clean The Bottom Of A Boat With

Cleaning the bottom portion of a boat needs a commercial hull cleaner, a scrubbing pad, and a sponge. If your boat is vulnerable to salt water and strong sediments on the water current, you should clean the bottom at least once a month. Otherwise, cleaning every alternate month will be more work.

Using a regular boat cleaner isn’t appropriate to clean the bottom as the exposure to dirt is comparatively higher. If you spot algae and other microorganisms on the bottom of the boat, you should follow the instructions in the video below:

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your boat deck for the first time can be a tiresome job. However, as you get used to the routine, you can find it relaxing. Above all, the result at the end of the process can motivate you immensely. 

Based on the size of your boat, you should maintain a stock of necessary accessories. However, don’t engage untrained members or children in the cleaning process. Exposure to chemicals or strong dirt can be harmful. Cheers!


Boatlifehq owner and author/editor of this article.

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